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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

March 1 - 15, 2019 • 15 days

based on double occupancy beginning in Kolkata, India ending in Delhi, India

International airfare additional

 

 

OVERVIEW:
Arrive Kolkata, founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. Visit Victoria Memorial built by Lord Curzon as a tribute to the late Queen Victoria to celebrate her 25 years of rule over India followed by Mallick’s Marble Palace - a private mansion housing an incongruous collection of statues and paintings, Chinese ceramics including work of Rubens and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In Darjeeling visit the Tiger Hill to view the spectacle of sunrise over the Himalayas. Take a ride on the Toy Train and enjoy the ride as it winds its way through the mountainside offering spectacular views. Visit Parbandi Goemba or Monastery, at a height of 400 metres. The modern temple houses large, impressive statues of the Bhutanese deities. Trek through the spectacular view to Takatsang Monastery . Visit Rimpung Dzong which is situated across the river on the knoll that rises from the river and has a commanding view of the Paro Valley.

HIGHLIGHTS:

• Visit Victoria Memorial built by Lord Curzon as a tribute to the late Queen Victoria to celebrate her 25 years of rule over India in Kolkata.
In Darjeeling visit the Tiger Hill (2673 M) and have a panoramic view of the entire Himalayan range and witness the fascinating spectacle of sunrise over the Himalayas in Darjeeling
• Take a ride on the Himalayan Toy Train to Ghoom which was built by the British more than 100 years ago, negotiates the mountains using special traction in Darjeeling
• Visit “The Research Institute of Tibetology” which has a large collection of icons, Tankhas (tapestries) and rare books in Gangtok
• Visit Parbandi Goemba or Monastery, at a height of 400 metres, The modern temple houses large, impressive statues of the Bhutanese deities. Outside the monastery is a lush garden, alive with greenery, from which visitors will be left slack-jawed at the unparalleled view of the Phuentsholing Town and the Bengal Plain in Phuentsoling
• Trek to Takatsang Monastery in Paro.
• Visit Rimpung Dzong which is situated across the river on the knoll that rises from the river and has a commanding view of the Paro Valley.

Preliminary Day-by-Day Itinerary


Day 01 (Fri) 01 Mar’ 19 : ARRIVE KOLKATA
Meals included : None

• Arrive Kolkata
• Meeting on arrival and transfer to the hotel for your check in.
• Rest of the day is at leisure

Overnight in Kolkata at THE OBEROI GRAND

Day 02 (Sat) 02 Mar’ 19: IN KOLKATA
Meals included: Breakfast

• Morning: A short walk through British Kolkata ending at St. Johns Church. Drive to Victoria Memorial built by Lord Curzon as a tribute to the late Queen Victoria.
• Afternoon: Visit Mallick’s Marble Palace, followed by a visit to the Missionaries of Charity established by Mother Teresa.

After dinner, transfer to airport to board your flight to Bagdogra at 16:30 hrs - 6E 5401 Victoria Memorial, is located in the heart of Kolkata, in West Bengal, India. This white marbled beauty, epitome of grace and elegance, was built in memory of Queen Victoria to celebrate her 25 years of rule over India. Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, undertook the task of putting up this magnificent monument for people to see and appreciate, and today the Victoria Memorial is counted as one of the best places to visit, not only in Kolkata but the entire country.

Mallick’s Marble Palace - a private mansion housing an incongruous collection of statues and paintings, Chinese ceramics including work of Rubens and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Overnight in Kolkata at THE OBEROI GRAND

Day 03 (Sun) 03 Mar’ 19: FLY TO BAGDOGRA FROM KOLKATA - DRIVE TO DARJEELING FROM BAGDOGRA
Meals included : Breakfast, Dinner
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Transfer to airport to board flight to Bagdogra.
• Leave Kolkata for Bagdogra by flight 6E 5401 (16:30/17:50 hrs)
• Meeting on arrival in Bagdogra and drive to Darjeeling (90 kms/2 hrs)

Darjeeling is at an elevation of 7000 ft above sea level. The drive is through interesting mountain country of majestic pines, brilliant red rhododendrons and charming white magnolias. The mountain slopes gently flow down in waves of green tea bushes. Darjeeling was a part of Sikkim until 1817AD when after the one and only Anglo Nepalese, in which Nepal was defeated by the British, the Maharaja of Sikkim who had been supported by the British in the war, handed over Darjeeling to the British as a token of friendship. The British used the it as a health Sanatorium. Arrive Darjeeling and check-in at the hotel.

Overnight in Darjeeling at MAY FAIR HOTEL

Day 04 (Mon) 04 Mar’ 19: IN DARJEELING
Meals included : Breakfast, Dinner
• Early morning visit the Tiger Hill (2673 M). On a clear morning one can have a panoramic view of the entire Himalayan range and witness the fascinating spectacle of sunrise over the Himalayas. On a clear day one will be able to see Mt. Khanchenjunga - 8585 M as also Mt. Everest - 8878 M.
• Return to hotel for breakfast.
• After breakfast take a ride on the Himalayan Toy Train to Ghoom (subject to operation) followed by the Ghoom Monastery
• Drive back to hotel.
• Afternoon : City tour of Darjeeling visiting the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park which has high altitude animals. This Park houses the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where every summer mountaineers are trained.
• Later if time permits visit a Tea Estate and drive to the Tibetan Self Help Center which was set up in 1951 when the Tibetans fled Tibet.

A ride on the Himalayan Toy Train to Ghoom , This journey by train is fascinating as it winds its way through the mountainside offering spectacular views. This mountain railway built by the British more than 100 years ago, negotiates the mountains using special traction. The Ghoom Monastery ( 8 kms from Darjeeling town) was built in 1875 AD in the Tibetan style. The Monastery enshrines a 5 M statue of Maitreya Buddha. Observe the ceremonies/rituals that are performed. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, the zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 7,000 feet (2,134 m), is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda. The park is named after Padmaja Naidu (1900–1975), daughter of Sarojini Naidu. The zoo serves as the central hub for Central Zoo Authority of India's red panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Overnight in Darjeeling at MAY FAIR HOTEL

Day 05 (Tue) 05 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM DARJEELING TO GANGTOK
Meals included : Breakfast, Dinner
• After breakfast, drive to Gangtok (98 kms/ approx. 3 hrs)
• Arrive Gangtok and check-in at hotel.
• Afternoon: Visit the Enchey Monastery.

Gangtok is the capital of the State of Sikkim. The city lies on a ridge overlooking the Ranipool River. The simple, ever-smiling hill people, colourful lamas, exotic monasteries and prayer flags fluttering in the wind combined with the scenic beauty of the Himalayan terrain provides a fascinating sight.

The Enchey Monastery built by the 8th Namgyal of Sikkim in 1840, belongs to the Nyingmapa Sect of Mahayana Buddhism. The monastery has been renovated in recent times.

Overnight in Gangtok at HOTEL NOR-KHILL

Day 06 (Wed) 06 Mar’ 19: IN GANGTOK
Meals included : Breakfast, Dinner
• Early Morning: Drive to Tashi View Point for a view of the eastern Himalayas.
• Later visit the Rumtek Monastery, Do Drul Chorten & Institute of Tibetology.
• Rest of the day is at leisure.

The Rumtek Monastery, 24 kms from Gangtok, is noted for its carved and painted woodwork, magnificent murals, icons and rare manuscripts. A special hall holds the remains of the late Karmapa - Gyalwa Karmapa. Participation in the prayers in the monastery if in progress is possible. The Do Drul Chorten, considered to be one of the most important chortens of Sikkim, was built in 1945 and has 108 Mani Lhyakor (Prayer Wheels) around it besides the two huge statues of Guru Padma Sambhava.

The Research Institute of Tibetology, which has a large collection of icons, Tankhas (tapestries) and rare books.

Overnight in Gangtok at HOTEL NOR-KHILL

Day 07 (Thu) 07 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM GANGTOK TO KALIMPONG
Meals included : Breakfast, Dinner
• After breakfast drive to Kalimpong (95 kms/ approx. 3 hrs)
• Afternoon: Visit the Tharpacholing Monastery of the Gyalopa (Dalai Lama followers) sect and the Zang dhok palri nyingma park Center and Institute in the Durbin Hill. There is a small monastery of the Drukpa sect of Bhutan. Visit a very fine nursery and orchid farm.

Kalimpong was a part of Bhutan until 1835 when it was handed over to the British by the ruler of Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 1250 m Kalimpong is a picturesque Hill Resort. It was once the strong hold of the Paro Penelope of Bhutan.

Tharpacholing Monastery, Tharpa Choling Monastery is perched on the mount of Tirpai Hills. Established by Buddhist sect, Gelupka in 1937, it is one of the first three monasteries constructed in Kalimpong. Popularly known as yellow-hat, this monastery also offers beautiful view of the Himalayan ranges. One of the most ideal locations for meditation in Kalimpong, the monastery entices several Buddhist monks and devotees. Pleasant climate, unpolluted nature and cool environment make this monastery one of the most favourite ones.

Zang dhok palri, is a famous Monastry is placed in hill top edges of Durpin Dara. This monastry is also known as "Durpin Monastry". Zang Dhok Palri Phodang monastery has sharing the history and religious with holiness. It is believed that Dalai Lama during his exile period after the external aggression of china took a refuge in India and during his runway ride he brought special and religious manuscripts along with him. Today some of the rare documents related with Buddhism are to be found within the gates of Zang Dhok Palri Phodang.

Within the whole environment of Kalimpong the presence of Zang Dhok Palri Phodang is considered to be divine and since Kalimpong is lived by diversity of Buddhism following people the social and religious value of this amazing monastery has earned special impetus.

Overnight in Kalimpong at MAYFAIR HIMALAYAN HOTEL

Day 08 (Fri) 08 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM KALIMPONG TO PHUENTSHOLING
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• After breakfast leave Kalimpong for Phuentsholing (170 kms/ approx. 6 hrs).
• After completing the Visa formalities at the Border check Post, check-in at the hotel.
• Afternoon: Visit the famous Karbandi Monastery built by Queen Mother in the 1970s.

Phuentsholing, the Gateway to Bhutan from India, a commercial and industrial city. Besides other things this Mountain Kingdom of Bhutan is well known for its stamps. Phuentsholing is the Philatelic Center of Bhutan.

Karbandi Goemba or Monastery, at a height of 400 metres, was founded in the year 1967 by the royal grandmother Ashi Phuntsho Choden, who has had a winter residence here. The modern temple houses large, impressive statues of the Bhutanese deities of Shakyamuni Buddha, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. Outside the monastery is a lush garden, alive with greenery, from which visitors will be left slack-jawed at the unparalleled view of the Phuentsholing Town and the Bengal Plain. In the garden you will also find eight different types of Tibetan chortens, or Tibetan Buddhist stupas.

Overnight in Phuentsholing at HOTEL DRUK

Day 09 (Sat) 09 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM PHUENTSHOLING TO THIMPHU
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• After breakfast leave Phuntsholing for Thimphu (165 kms/6 hrs)
• The drive will be through the village of Hongtsu and across the spectacular Dochu-La (Dochu Pass) On nearing Thimphu, visit the Simtoka Dzong built by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan in 1629. The University of the National language Dzongka is housed in this Dzong and it is one of the largest monastic schools in the country.

Thimpu (7,600ft) is the capital of Bhutan and the center of Government, religion and commerce. It is an unique city with an unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions.

Overnight in Thimpu at HOTEL DRUK

Day 10 (Sun) 10 Mar’ 19: IN THIMPHU
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• Morning : Embark on a guided visit of the school of painting, the Institute of Herbal & Native Medicine & the Nunnery
• Later in the afternoon, explore the Handicrafts Emporium and the post-office for stamps. Bhutan is known for its Philatelic uniqueness. Also visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) of the Late King of Bhutan.
• Evening : Explore the local market on your own
The Institute of Herbal & Native Medicine: Established in 1978, this institute collects medicinal plants from remote corners of the Bhutanese Himalaya, such as Lingzhi, Laya and Lunana, and then distributes pills, tablets, ointments and medicinal teas to regional health-care units around the country. The small museum details some of the 300 herbs, minerals and animal parts that Bhutanese doctors have to choose from.

Overnight in Thimpu at HOTEL DRUK

Day 11 (Mon) 11 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM THIMPU TO PUNAKHA - WANGDUE PHODRANG
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• After breakfast leave Thimpu for Wangduephodrang visiting enroute the Punakha Dzong (110 kms/4.5 hrs including visits)
• Lunch at the Punakha Hotel. Pass by the Punakha Bazaar and drive 12 kms to Wangdue phodrang.

The Punakha Dzong built between two rivers , Mochu and Pochu, in the 17th century AD by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is the winter residence of the Monk Body of its Chief Abbot - Jey Khempo. The Dzong houses sacred artifacts and the embalmed body of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal. Parts of the Dzong was burnt by an accidental fire a few years ago. The Ucchi and the main hall of worship is beautifully restored with great statues of Sakya Muni Buddha, Guru Padma Sambhava, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, Avalokiteshwara and numerous figures. The wall paintings depict the life story of the Buddha and the nine manifestations of Guru Padhma Sambhava.

Overnight in Wangdue Phodrang at KICHU WANGDUE

Day 12 (Tue) 12 Mar’ 19: DRIVE FROM WANGDUEPHODRANG TO PARO
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• After breakfast drive to Paro (148 kms /4.5 hrs)
• Check -in at the hotel.
• Later in the evening visit the Paro bazaar

Overnight in Paro at Tiger's Nest

Day 13 (Wed) 13 Mar’ 19: IN PARO
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• Morning: Visit the Takatsang Monastery - 3 hrs trek (total). Those not taking the trek can visit the Drugyel Dzong, a ruined fortress. This Dzong is of historical importance for it was from here that the Bhutanese defeated the Tibetans and drove them back.
• Afternoon: Visit the Rimpung Dzong (which literally means a 'heap of jewels').
• Visit the 7th/8th century AD temple of Kichhu Lakhang - prior permission for this visit will be obtained.

The Taktsang monastery, literally meaning the 'Tiger's Nest' was built around the cave in which Guru Rimpoche-Guru Padhma Sambava and later his followers meditated. This monastery clings to a cliff of rock at a height of 3000ft above the valley floor. The Takatsang Monastery was burnt down by an accidental fire in recent times and has been beautifully restored. Those unable to take this trek can still view the Monastery and drive to point till the end of the road where the trek starts and enjoy the scenic beauty of this location.

Rimpung Dzong, It is situated across the river on the knoll that rises from the river and has a commanding view of the Paro Valley. Today it houses the Paro Monastic body. Behind the Rimpung Dzong, high on the hill side, is the majestic castle shaped circular Ta Dzong. This one-time lookout stronghold played an active part in the defense of the Rimpung Dzong during invasions. Since 1967 it houses the National Museum which has outstanding collections of Tangkhas, textiles, bronzes, stamp collection, a wondrous tree of monastic life and numerous valuable artifacts.

Overnight in Paro - Tiger's Nest

Day 14 (Thu) 14 Mar’ 19: ANOTHER DAY IN PARO - EXCURSION TO HAA VALLEY
Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
• Full day excursion to the recently opened Haa valley
• Return to Paro in the late afternoon

Haa's major feature is the Haa Valley a steep north-south valley with a narrow floor. The main crops grown in the valley are wheat and barley, although some rice is grown in the lower reaches of the valley. Pottatos, Chiilies, apples and other cash crops are grown by farmers on the valley floor, along terraced hillsides, and in some of the more accessible side valleys. Haa is also known is Hidden-Land Rice Valley.

In 2002 the valley was opened to foreign tourists, although its tourist resources remain largely undeveloped compared with Paro, Thimpu & Bumthung districts.

Overnight in Paro - Tiger's Nest

Day 15 (Fri) 015 Mar’ 19: FLY FROM PARO TO DELHI - DEPART
Meals included : Breakfast
• Transfer to Paro airport to board flight KB204 to Delhi at 11:30
• On arrival in Delhi at 14:25 transfer to airport to board the onward flight back to US

 

 

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

© 2017 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

5500 Bucks Bar Road • Placerville, CA 95667 U.S.A. • Voicemail/Telephone/Fax 1-530-621-3007
Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
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wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com